ATIKU, NOT NORTH'S CHOICE â€“ BAFARAWA
Former Sokoto State governor, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa has picked holes in the selection of former vice president, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku as the candidate of the North, by the Northern Political Leaders Forum (NPLF). He said Atiku lacked all the necessary credentials to fly the North's flag in next year's presidential elections.
Bafarawa who spoke with Daily Sun, yesterday on telephone, identified the criteria to include mass acceptance, popularity, track record and other personal attributes which he declined to name.
Bafarawa, who is also a presidential aspirant on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN also expressed dissatisfaction with the zoning debate in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), which ab-initio triggered-off the emergence of the NPLF which endorsed Atiku.
'Atiku is not the choice of the North. He is not the candidate of the North as some people are imagining. He is the candidate of a group of people in the PDP.
He does not have the essential criteria to represent the interest of the North. Why would a group of people within PDP come together and pretend to be speaking for the North.'
Asked to place Atiku's emergence against other contenders for the endorsement, including former military President Ibrahim Babangida, he said it was 'a PDP affair, and those who made the purported endorsement have their reasons.'
Bafarawa criticized the PDP zoning formulae, describing it as 'absurd.' 'I'm not excited about the PDP zoning agreement. What should bother Nigerians most is the violation of their sovereign constitution. So, in that light, I think President Goodluck Jonathan is free to contest as a free citizen of Nigeria. He has the rights. I am yet to get a superior argument on this.'
He further spoke on the judicial governorship victory of his party, the Action Congress Of Nigeria (ACN) in Osun last weekend, saying it signposted the good electoral fortune of the party in the 2011 elections.
He acknowledged the growing pan-Nigeria acceptance of the ACN. 'Our party, the ACN is growing and expanding. It is now a National Party and a good platform,' he enthused.
On the Democratic Peoples Party(DPP), which he founded and which successfully upturned the 2007 governorship elections in Delta State recently at the governorship elections Appeal Tribunal sitting in Benin, he had this to say: 'DPP is till there. I don't know much about DPP. I only know about ACN. I opted for a national platform. We're happy with the merger.'
He described his chances of clinching the ACN presidential ticket as very bright, adding that his credentials were enough to give it to him.
'As a governor for 8 years and a successful entrepreneur, I have what it takes. I understand the intricacies of governance, the intrigues of politics and the mechanism of administration. I have the exposure and experience.
The ACN has the best manifesto today and we will adopt and implement it.' He described the ' one man, one vote' catchphrase of the party as desirable canon for free and fair elections in 2011.